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The Last Interview and Other Conversations (The Last Interview)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  639 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 18th 2012 by Melville House (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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James Smith
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The irony is that, for me, David Foster Wallace interviews are The Entertainment. I could lose days in their plush, welcoming sincerity, even their tortured self-consciousness. He's like Garth Brooks--you know the aw-shucks-ism is an act, but it's the pose of someone who really wants to be humble and sincere and so you can't help but love him.
Proustitute
The latest in Melville House's Last Interview series, this collection compiles several interviews that David Foster Wallace gave—including the last before his death. I certainly make no claims to be a DFW expert, so I'm unsure whether these pieces are collected here for the first time or if they're just reprinted from other sources: the only information Melville House offers in the press release is that this is "a unique selection of [DFW's] best interviews."

For the DFW completist, here are the
...more
britt_brooke
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
"If it looks chaotic, good, but everything that's in there is in there on purpose." - DFW on Infinite Jest [SALON, 1996]

This small collection of interviews grants a glimpse into David Foster Wallace's writing, opinions, and personality. I look forward to diving into his short stories and essays once I'm finished with IJ.

I'm sad he's gone.
Justin Evans
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it
In which I learn that DFW must have been a total pain in the ass to interview, unless you were his buddy. Here's a condensed version of the book:

Q: Interesting question.
DFW: This isn't the right format to answer that, because I'd have to go into detail.
Q: What's your writing process like?
DFW: I don't really have one. [Note: when Eggers asks this question, DFW asks him to describe his (Eggers') process, then goes into some detail on his own].
Q: I really like your work.
DFW: I'm really boring.
...more
Dan
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
DFW is a famous author. Over the last 20 years lots of people have interviewed him. This book collects 6 of those interviews, the earliest from 1996. It also includes, as you would expect from the title, his last interview from 1998 (about four months before his suicide).

This last interview is a short one discussing the release of McCain's Promise (in book form). While interesting to hear DFW talk politics, it was a bit of a letdown since it was so brief, and all too final. It's certainly not t
...more
Christopher
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, of course, but not strictly necessary. I like watching clips on YouTube of him more. The actual last interview with Wallace is a bit of a letdown, as it's very short and mostly about John McCain.
Hadrian
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Exactly what it says on the cover. Although I do recall reading most of these already, they're still good.
Cynthia Tolson
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This man had such a brilliant and fascinating mind. It is sad and incredible to think about what else he might have created.
Brian DiMattia
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting idea for a series of books. On the one hand, it looks like they might be part of the increasingly dark "let's cash in on the tragic death of a famous author" mini-industry that's sprung up around David Foster Wallace's memory. When you look at it closer, it's actually a series of interviews, each taking place near the time of one of his books being published, or having some other connection to a biography of his writing life.

(In other words, only the title is blatantly opportunist
...more
Andrew Torres
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is not a review.

"I've done some book reviews, it's difficult to do. In my opinion it's far more difficult to write a review of something that you don't like because if you're a fiction writer you know how hard you work even on something really crummy to somebody else."

David Foster Wallace went beneath my skin. It feels ironic to even attempt a book review for these interviews; DFW made it very clear on how he feels about reviewing. I'm not certain if those were even his feelings or just the
...more
Jon
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I highlighted many sections in this book, including these parts about sadness:

"The sadness that the book [Infinite Jest] is about, and that I was going through, was a real American type of sadness. I was white, upper-middle-class, obscenely well-educated, had had way more career success than I could have legitimately hoped for and was sort of adrift.

A lot of my friends were the same way. Some of them were deeply into drugs, others were unbelievable workaholics. Some were going to singles bars e
...more
Andrew
A slender volume of interviews, at least one of which I'd definitely read before. Almost a classic example of a "completists only" book. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the interviews, I did, and I got some book recommendations out of them, but that's about it. If a copy comes your way, feel free to pick it up, it's distracting, but definitely not worth going out and buying, especially when they'll charge ya 15 bucks for 100 pages -- although it's nowhere near as exorbitant as the publishing indus ...more
Tom Dolan
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dfw, biography
Disappointing or confusing. I labored under the delusion that this whole book was a big interview -- it's not. It's collected interviews (most of which I already have or have read) and the unpublished "last" interview is a page and half or so. Oh well. Added to the DFW stack.
Jamie Cattanach
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic insight into one of my favorite writers and people, who speaks at length here about how to best be a writer (or a people) in the twenty-first century. Couldn't put it down.

So sad we lost him.
John
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mixed up things. Some of it are really boring.But our DFW-guy ain't give no shit, coz Everything about him is a gift.
Wendy Liu
Of the six interviews, four of them are also found in Conversations with David Foster Wallace; the only two new ones are the one with Dave Eggers and the one with Stacey Schmediel, neither of which really stands out compared to his more famous interviews.

This book is probably only worth getting if, like me, you're obsessively trying to complete your personal collection of books by and on David Foster Wallace. Otherwise, I would suggest Conversations with David Foster Wallace instead.
Joe
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
a few short interviews, some of which do not ask anything interesting. you can feel DFW struggling to answer some questions while remaining polite. There are a couple of interesting sections though, and you get a better feel for what the author was like outside of his narrator persona. It's short enough that if you are a fan, you should read this. if not, you probably wouldn't want to read it anyway.
Niklas Pivic
This is a collection of interviews with David Foster Wallace, which is published posthumously. DFW does these interviews either face-to-face or by e-mail (which he perfers, as he refers to himself as a "five-draft man").

On "Infinite Jest":

MILLER: What were you intending to do when you started this book?

DFW: I wanted to do something sad. I’d done some funny stuff and some heavy, intellectual stuff, but I’d never done anything sad. And I wanted it not to have a single main character. The other ban
...more
Vivek Tejuja
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is something about David Foster Wallace that you cannot help but want to know more. He was barely forty-six when he committed suicide on September 12, 2008. He had suffered from depression for nearly twenty years and perhaps this was the reason he took his life. At the same time, you know what they say about geniuses, right? There has to be a spot of bother in them – they view the world quite differently from you and I and mostly most of them tend to veer off-course and live life on their ...more
Aman Mittal
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
THE LAST INTERVIEW and OTHER CONVERSATIONS is a collection of interviews of David Forster Wallace including the last interview he gave before his death. Earlier this year I read his book Infinite Jest which I still think is a bit overrated due its length but I got curios about this writer-who-wears-bandana's intellect. On reading this book, I got a glance on his intellect more. It's an insight and you don't need to read between the lines. Just read the answers David Foster Wallace gave to severa ...more
Matthew Ciarvella
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Something that I picked up as I near the halfway point through Infinite Jest. It was great to get a sense of the author's voice outside of the construction of the novel and to get an impression of what the author himself intended the book to be. Yes, I know; death of the author was the predominant literary trope during my college days (what a morbid term, considering DWF's real life suicide) but I really like knowing what the author intended, even if I decide for myself whether or not the work h ...more
Rafal Cebula
Jan 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was sort of a disappointment. While I am a big fan of DFW's non-fiction and I fairly dislike his fiction, this book was sort of a waste of time. First off, I think it works under the assumption that a writer's last interview is in some way a grandiose philosophical glimpse into their death. Not so. In fact, DFW's last interview was the shortest of the bunch and fairly boring.

There are other interviews to ensure this book was not a mere 2 pages. And some of them were ok, but most of them we
...more
Tommy
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I feel as if I cannot give this five stars because they're interviews. Maybe I'm wrong (probably I'm wrong). The standout interview, for me, was the one between Wallace and Eggers who are peers (both fiction writers, post-modern, self-conscious although Eggers is overtly more journalist which is probably because he was a journalism major at one point). What remains to me one of the brief but most memorable details is Eggers talking about the "homeopathic envelope" that he could have been misreme ...more
Liz Stiverson
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
My favorite parts

"I want my work to be good. I want to like it. This is the only part that has anything to do with me. I can't make it have an 'impact' on anybody else. This doesn't mean I can't hope it has one, but I can't do anything to guarantee it, or even to cause it. All I can do is make something as good as I can make it (this is the sort of fact that's both banal and profound), and promise myself that I'll never try to publish anything I myself don't think is good or finished."

"Maybe the
...more
Mihai
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took me a whole cup of coffee to exit the final pages of DFW's interviews. Not because they are hard, easiness is a feature that any conversation between intelligent people aspires to have, it's because of the sincerity - the soto voce that creeps through the pages - leaving the reader aware and active and focused, his mind as far as possible from any drift that sometimes a lecture provides.

A special quote taken from that honesty trait described above, is the best ending I could wish for:
"The
...more
Michael Smith
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Got hold of this book through a Goodreads giveaway from the publisher. I enjoyed it. The interviews selected and compiled were an interesting window into DFW's thinking, processes, and attitudes--particularly the Eggers interview. Fascinating intellect, and like all of us a bit conflicted. Recently came across a quote in which he predicted the next literary revolutionaries would be banal and simple and celebratory of the neglected obvious, reactionary by way of refusal to react to an environment ...more
Nicholas Morley
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The man, the myth, the Midwestern weirdo's boundless enthusiasm for fiction jumps off the page, though the titular last interview, with the Wall Street Journal (a publication whose integrity is undoubted but whose genuine interest in the support of the arts in any sense beyond the financial is, at best, suspect) is a three-page dud of a conversation, only made up for by the crackler of a talk in the surreal email exchange between DFW and Dave Eggers. It's an encouraging read, especially if you w ...more
Madeleine Henry
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
I enjoy David Foster Wallace's writing. His speech, however, is quite different -- it is less clever, less thoughtful, less interesting. Maybe the fault is in my expectations, but if you are looking for a different and much more ordinary side of Wallace, you will like this more than I did.

This collection is clearly capitalizing off of Wallace's celebrity, and it seems the content is second to the speaker. Had he not been famous, this collection would likely not have been published. However, fand
...more
Connie  Kuntz
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I almost couldn't stand reading this. Who wants to read interviews of someone who recently hanged himself? Reading this had a sickening and maddening effect on me. I really don't even want to talk about it. A brilliant writer is dead. What can I do about it? Nothing.

I have been trying to gather the strength to finish reading Infinite Jest, but his suicide ruins it for me. I'm sure he's looking down at me from heaven saying, "Oh I'm sorry my suicide interferes with your reading, Connie. I won't
...more
E. C. Koch
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a quick read that suffered slightly from a lack of contextualization (w/r/t where and/or when the interview takes place, what reading Wallace just came back from, what he may have been working on at the time etc.), but also illuminated a lot of the thoughts behind the themes I've noticed in the work of his I've read so far (and have become thoroughly obsessed with). Worth the couple extra hours to read through probably only if you've already dedicated the thousands of hours necessary to ...more
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David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything: novels, journalism, vacation. His life was an information hunt, collecting hows and whys. "I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today," he once said, "of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it." He wanted to write "stuff about what it feels like to live. Instead of being a relief from what it fe ...more
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“I've always thought of myself as a realist. I can remember fighting with my professors about it in grad school. The world that I live in consists of 250 advertisements a day and any number of unbelievably entertaining options, most of which are subsidized by corporations that want to sell me things. The whole way that the world acts on my nerve endings is bound up with stuff that the guys with the leather patches on their elbows would consider pop or trivial or ephemeral. I use a fair amount of pop stuff in my fiction, but what I mean by it is nothing different than what other people mean in writing about trees and parks and having to walk to the river to get water 100 years ago. It's just the texture of the world I live in.” 2 likes
“I don’t know what you’re thinking or what it’s like inside you and you don’t know what it’s like inside me. In fiction … we can leap over that wall itself in a certain way.” 2 likes
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